Team GB gets first win against UAE29/07/2012 -
Ryan Giggs, Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge all score as Team GB beat United Arab Emirates in their second Olympic group game. They now need only a draw against Uruguay on Wednesday to progress to the group stage.
Stuart Pearce made three changes to his squad following Team GB’s disappointing draw against Senegal on Thursday; James Tomkins, Aaron Ramsey and Marvin Sordell replacing Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose and Daniel Sturridge. But for all of Pearce’s tinkering with his youngsters, it was his over age players that were key to Team GB’s success in the first half, especially the Welsh duo of Giggs and Craig Bellamy.
In the 16th minute Giggs picked up the ball outside the UAE box and played in Tom Cleverly, who in turn found Bellamy on the left wing. The Liverpool striker whipped in a beautiful cross that found the head of an unmarked Giggs putting the home nation ahead. It was a goal that highlighted UAE weaknesses in defence, and it looked as if Team GB could finish the first half two, or even three goals ahead. Just before the break Bellamy, a brilliant orchestrator throughout the game, made a great run down the left wing before passing back to Cleverly. The midfielder’s shot beat UAE’s keeper Ali Khaseif, but the ball bounced off the inside of both posts and back into play.
The second half saw Sturridge come on for Sordell and the Chelsea striker immediately made an impact. He galvanised the front line and had a close range shot well saved by Khaseif in the 53rd minute. UAE had a chance of their own seconds later when Ahme Kahil struck a piledriver shot from 30 yards that clipped the outside of Team GB’s post.
After this, it was UAE who looked more dangerous and they managed to get an equaliser in the 60th minute. A brilliant through ball found Rashed Eisa, who outpaced Tomkins and slotted the ball coolly under Jack Butland.
Determined not to repeat the same mistakes from the Senegal game, Pearce decided to make some attacking changes, bringing on Scott Sinclair for Giggs. Bellamy picked up the ball on the right hand side of the pitch and crossed in a low ball into the UAE box. Khaseif made a hash of deflecting the inswinging cross and the ball fell to Sinclair who put Team GB ahead again. He had been on the pitch for only 52 seconds. The home side then secured their win three minutes later when Cleverly found Sturridge with a magnificent through ball down the centre of the pitch. Sturridge outpaced the opposition defence and coolly chipped the keeper from the edge of the box.
It may not have been a flawless performance but it will certainly boost the confidence of the Team GB players, who have now played three games together and got a better result each time. They now need at least a draw against Uruguay in their final group game to secure passage to the knock out stage.